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Extension > Local Extension Offices > Meeker > County Agriculture Educator > Articles > National Farm Safety and Health Week – Sept. 17-23, 2017

National Farm Safety and Health Week – Sept. 17-23, 2017

Source: Karen Johnson, University of Minnesota Extension Educator

It’s National Farm Safety and Health Week! This year’s theme is “Putting Farm Safety Into Practice". This proclamation from the President of the United States of American Donald Trump is designed not only to acknowledge the hard work of area farmers and ranchers but also bring awareness to the fact that farming is a dangerous occupation. With harvest season upon us, now is the time to acknowledge the necessary steps to stay safe and healthy this harvest season.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Agriculture continues to rank amongst the most hazardous industries. Approximately, 401 farmers and farm workers died from work-related injury in 2015, resulting in a fatality rate of 19.2 deaths per 100,000 workers. The leading cause of death for farmers and farm workers was tractor overturns. Approximately 100 agricultural workers suffer lost work-time injury every day. Just another reason why farm safety needs to be practiced every day to prevent serious or fatal injuries on our farms.

To quote Dr. Phil, “You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others”. This quote can also be applied to farming, especially during harvest season. The first step in achieving this is to get enough sleep and rest. If you are in the tractor or combine all day, take some short breaks to refresh yourself. Always remember to stay hydrated and don’t skip meals. Quality meals and snacks are vital to keeping the body running properly. Finally, working at a reasonable pace will help to improve mental clarity and prevent slip-ups which in the end will slow you down.  Tip – have a first aid kit available in your tractor and office – or where it is most handy for those moments of need.

Next are several suggestions for ways to stay safe around equipment this harvest season.

  • Before operating, fully understand the equipment’s capabilities and hazard potential
  • Use all modern safety features – such as Roll Over Protection Structures (ROPS), Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and seat belts
  • One Seat = One Person – Not only do extra riders distract the operator, there is no safe place in the majority of farm equipment for an additional person.
  • Understand all laws of center of gravity and centrifugal force to prevent rollovers
  • Follow all manufacturer’s recommendations for pulling equipment with the hitch and/ or using the hydraulic lifts on the equipment – including proper bucket position and hitch points
  • Use handholds and care when getting on and off equipment to avoid slips and falls
  • Ensure the equipment is properly maintained and cared for

In conclusion, by utilizing these suggestions on an everyday basis, you can provide a safe and healthy workplace for yourself and your workers. We all need to keep farm safety in mind to ensure that a severe or fatal injury never occurs on our farms. Happy National Farm Safety and Health Week!


Karen Johnson
Extension Educator, Ag Production Systems
(320) 484-4303
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